Sponsored Post: Cheese and Chocolate Are BFFs

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You and me, we have a lot of history together, a history that covers a lot of cheese and a lot of chocolate. There was the time I made a cheese plate for Craig’s birthday dessert and the time I had a Gourmet Grilled Cheese Night. Chocolate-wise, where do we even begin? There’s a whole category of my site devoted to the stuff. And yet never before, until today, have I brought these two beloved worlds together on one plate: cheese and chocolate? Together? Have I lost my marbles? No, not at all. Turns out, they make a terrific pairing.

Of course, I needed a little help to make this discovery. The first part of my journey began when Ghiardelli (the company sponsoring this post) sent me a giant box of their new line of chocolates; extra dark chocolates in a variety of flavors that are meant to be enjoyed on their own, with Port or after dinner drinks, or–as you’ll soon see–with cheese. Here’s the stack I’m talking about:

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As you can see, this is serious stuff. (And delicious too. I may have devoured a bar or two in preparation for this post). The question was: how to pair this with cheese? Which cheeses would go best?

I must confess, I’m no expert on this subject. Which is why I turned to the actual experts: the good people who run my favorite cheese shop in L.A., the Cheese Store of Silverlake. ‘Twas there that Maggie, who you see this picture, helped me pick my cheeses:

The first one she picked–the one she’s holding out in this picture–was a Noord Hollander, a cow’s milk cheese from Holland. She picked it because it’s “nutty, salty and slightly bitter”–qualities that proved to be wonderful paired with chocolate.

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The next one she selected was a Challerhocker, a raw cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland:

This one she selected because, like the Hollander, it’s nutty though also a bit grassy. It had a palate-cleansing quality between bites of chocolate.

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Finally, she went for the intense stuff: Brebirousse D’Argental which is a creamy sheep’s milk cheese from France. It’s sweet and buttery and a great complement to the chocolate on the plate.

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As for how to serve it all together, I got out my new cheese board and then sliced some walnut/raisin bread which seemed to make sense for both cheese and chocolate:

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Then I set out the three cheeses at the top of the board, with the bread in the middle, and broken pieces of chocolate–I chose the sea salt and hazelnut because they seemed to have the purest flavors–on the edge of the plate with some scattered walnuts and dried apricots for color and texture.

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For those of you who like dessert too much to serve just cheese or, vice-versa, this is such a great compromise. A little chocolate for those with a sweet-tooth, a little cheese for those who prefer things more savory, and then really good bread to tie it all together.

Cheese and chocolate together: it’s a reality. Now it’s your turn to make it happen!

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